A Stroke At 50? Not Me!

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by Christy VanderMolen, Special to the Roundup

Doug Mock is a man’s man — military career, Special Ops Unit, Purple Heart recipient, hunter, fisherman and adventure seeker. And, like a lot of men, he may have ignored the signs of a potential stroke.

Still at 52, a major illness was not something he expected. Doug and his fiancé, Terry, travel extensively, trailer and boat in tow making hunting videos titled “On Our Own Outdoor Adventures with Doug and Terry.” He has hunted with Jeff Foxworthy and George Brett and was interviewed on “Outdoor Addictions.”

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Doug Mock

Doug and Terry decided to make Payson their base after falling in love with the Tonto Basin area. They were in the process of looking for a home to buy when one morning Doug was at the sink in their trailer and describes it as, “I lost the ability to move and just fell to my left side on to the floor, unable to do anything. It is an experience I would never wish on anyone.”

While there is some history of stroke in his family and signs of mini-strokes he ignored in the past, Doug feels the event could have been triggered by a change in managing his blood pressure. Looking back, Doug wishes he had been more of an advocate for himself regarding his blood pressure and medication changes.

Doug had a massive stroke. His left side was completely paralyzed. After spending months at a Valley hospital and then another month at a Valley rehab, Doug was succumbing to depression and asked to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Payson.

Doug spent the next four months at Payson Care Center where he received extensive therapy to regain movement to the left side of his body. Injury and recovery were not new to Doug. His left arm had been so badly shot in Desert Storm it had to be re-attached. It was thought he would never regain the ability to use that arm.

Doug says the move to Payson and particularly Payson Care Center is what proved to make his recovery so successful.

“The rehabilitation team was outstanding, the nurses so compassionate, and though the recovery has been hard, I’m walking, I’m regaining the strength of my arm and I’m going to keep hunting. My therapists, Libbie, Jake and Christiana, were incredible, working with me day after day, revitalizing muscles that I feared would never regain their strength. Walking, practicing lateral movements and e-stem therapy were my main therapies. Working those muscles was the most severe pain imaginable. Barb, my primary Certified Nursing Assistant, was an angel in disguise, encouraging me day after day and never letting me lose sight of my goals.

“While at Payson Care Center I also renewed my faith in God and without it I would never have had the strength to recover. You just can’t get through something like this without faith in a higher power.”

Doug was discharged from Payson Care Center with tearful goodbyes from staff and fellow patients. He was an inspiration to everyone. Though he often uses a motorized wheelchair, Doug and Terry are soon headed to northwest Nebraska to go bear hunting and will marry Saturday, Oct. 19.

The voice of experience

Doug wants to encourage everyone to be aware of changes in your health, “Don’t take anything for granted and don’t try to manage serious health issues yourself.”

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